Replacing and Repairing Floorboards
LESLIE: Jim in North Dakota has a flooring issue. Tell us about the problem.JIM: Well, we’ve got a pretty old house built in 1902 and it’s got hardwood maple floors in it. And about a year ago, in my living room and just about in the center of the living room, the floor started to buckle; you know, two of the boards kind of came up.TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.JIM: And I’m trying to see if there’s a solution easier or better than – obviously, I really don’t want to have to lift all these boards and try to relay them. And I’m not really thinking what I want to do is take a circular saw down the middle of it and saw it and try to get it to seal back down. But – so that’s what I’m calling about.TOM: OK. Any chance on you getting these two boards out so that you could work on them?JIM: Maybe.TOM: Yep.JIM: You know, they’re in the very center of the room; so taking them out, there’s a good chance I’m going to do some damage to some more boards along the way. But it’s possible.TOM: (overlapping voices) Right, well – right. What I would probably do, in this case, is I would probably saw down the ridge between the two, where they’re popped up, so that we eliminate that tongue and groove.JIM: (overlapping voices) Yeah?TOM: And that would probably allow them to be disassembled and pulled out. And then I would clean out underneath, try to figure out why it’s popping up; maybe see if there’s any debris in there or there’s something pressure, something shifting; and then I would try to lay them back down. It might mean that you have to actually trim then because they’re too wide now or undercut them so that you sort of take the underside edge off so that you can get them back down. And then I would reattach them and I would reattach them with screws and I would put wood plugs in to hold them in place. And that will never come up …LESLIE: And cover your screws.TOM: Yeah, cover up your screw heads. It’ll never come up again. Flush plugs. You know, you’ll have to do a little bit of refinishing and the color of the plugs won’t exactly match but, over time, as it gets exposed to sunlight and UV, it’ll fade very nicely.You know, I have an 1886 house. We’ve had to do a lot of floor surgery in this house and occasionally have had to just replace …LESLIE: And your floor looks great.TOM: Yeah. Occasionally I’ve had to replace some boards and, you know, I’ve put down – and I have Douglas fir. I put down some new Doug fir boards and they look like pink or like cherry-like against sort of the amber color of the rest of the floor. But you know, inside of a year it all fades out and matches and now you can’t even tell.JIM: OK.TOM: And when you have an old house, that’s the kind of thing you have to do. You’ve got to be a little creative. OK, Jim?JIM: Yep, sounds good.TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.